In 2002, Mario Ancic stunned Roger Federer in straight sets in the first round at Wimbledon. Determined to avoid those kinds of surprises, Federer claimed the All England Club title in 2003 and never looked back, scoring 26 consecutive victories in the world's biggest tournament after serving the rematch against the Croat in 2006.
In the quarterfinals, the three-time defending champion defeated Ancic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 47 minutes, clinching his ninth consecutive victory at Wimbledon in straight sets and reaching the semi-finals. Roger broke once and scored four breaks on seven chances, landing a similar number of serve winners as Mario and controlling the pace from the baseline.
The Swiss earned a break at 2-2 in the first set with a "passing" and closed it with his serve at 5-4. Driven by that momentum, Federer took an early break at the start of the second set and held it throughout, firing a service winner in the 10th game to put himself two sets up front and take a big step toward victory.
Forging a 3-0 lead in the third set, Roger missed a beat a bit, but it wasn't enough for Ancic to make a full comeback, with the defending champion advancing after an unreturned serve at 5-4. “It is not easy to compare this Wimbledon with the previous ones, and also with different players.
But yeah, I had periods in these five games where I played amazing tennis. Rain delays tend to slow you down, but they gave me more and I played even better. Today was a pretty good performance, and I'm happy. I woke up during the night and saw thunderstorms; I knew it would be a bad day.
Still, I was first on the court and we ended up with a couple of rain delays, which is fine. He knew that Mario could be dangerous; he has a great serve, with an aggressive approach and good volleys. It had to start well; otherwise it could have been a difficult match.
Our previous match here was four years ago, and I didn't think about that. My "passings" have worked well throughout the event."
Alex Corretja reflects on Roger Federer
Speaking to Eurosport, Alex Corretja said the Swiss' negative body language throughout the match was a worrying sign in the lead up to Wimbledon, which begins on Monday.
"I was worried about his body language a little bit," Corretja said. "Roger Federer was, I think, inside himself. He’s the only one who knows how he’s feeling, the way he’s moving. Sometimes it’s not about complaining.
It’s a matter of you are playing and inside you, you feel ‘this is not how I want to feel’. And I think Roger feels a little bit that way right now." Corretja believes that if Federer can play his way into the tournament and find his best tennis, he can be competitive.
"I’m just worried he doesn’t feel 100 per cent on his knee because it’s normal that his movements are still not the best," Corretja said. "Well, he needs a very, very good first week to get the rhythm that he needs to become good the second week and to perform well.
I think if he gets the rhythm that he needs, he’s going to be very dangerous but there are many players that right now can hurt him, when before it was maybe only two or three," the Spaniard added.